It’s always “do as I say, not as I do” with these guys. They’ll bash hypocrisy as they see it, on the
right, but when it comes to their own actions they do as they please. Private jets are commonplace
for them, as with Laurie David and her trips accross the country to promote this movie and her causes.
I wonder how Al and Laurie and their entourage got to France and how they’ll be coming home? Taking
a commercial flight? Flying coach? Doubt it…
Why do you cast a blanket label on environmentalists as “leftist” (according to your
parenthetical statement “and often other leftists”)? I am conservative and still consider
myselft an environmentalist. It’s no wonder our country is so polarized politically with
folks such as yourself proselytizing the extreems of “rightist” versus “leftist” views.
You know, a lot of us are somewhere in the middle ground.
As I normally hear the term used, “environmentalism” is not merely the believe that preserving the natural environment and limiting pollution is a good thing, but also the beliefs that any human impact on the environment is inherently evil (and thus not subject to cost-benefit trade-offs), and that any it is the duty of government to restrict human freedom in the name of protecting the environment.
The latter two qualifications, particularly the government’s duty to restrict freedom, place environmentalism firmly on the left.
I personally am against pollution, and in favor of the preservation of natural areas — but by the above definition, that doesn’t make me an environmentalist. I see nothing wrong with deciding to preserve Yellowstone, but allow development in Boise. An environmentalist would disagree with the latter.
I believe that recycling may often be a good idea, but that the decision to recycle is best left to the market; an environmentalist would argue that putting your wastepaper in a recycling bin is an inherently good act, regardless of whether the wastepaper actually gets made into new paper, or merely gets put in a different part of the city dump on the off-chance that someday the market price of wastepaper rises enough to make it worthwhile to actually use it. (This is what the City of Chicago does, for example.) To a conservative like me, recycling is a good idea under certain circumstances because under those circumstances it has good consequences; to an environmentalist, it is more like a religious act, in that it is a good act whether it has any effect or not.
In the 1970s environmentalists favored wind power; now that wind power is practical they oppose it because it’s allegedly bad for the birds. In 1975, environmentalists were warning that burning fossil fues would produce an new ice age; now they warn that burningthose same fossil fuels will produce global warming. Now they favor gas/electric “hybrid” cars — I’m sure in a few years they’ll oppose them because of the disposal of hazardous chemicals from the batteries. To an environmentalist, the point is not clean power or clean cars, but less power and fewer cars. Think of an alternative to any current system, and they’ll oppose that, too. Because it’s not about the environment, it’s about humanity and the opposition to human progress.
If you consider yourself a conservative and are concerned about pollution and natural areas, you are probably — like me and Theodore Roosevelt — best described as a convervationist rather than an environmentalist.
One of the key differences between conservationists and environmentalists is that conservationists want to preserve things for future generations; environmentalists want to .
I know some pro-gun liberals and pro-choice conservatives. Still, the irrefuable facts are that the liberal movement is broadly anti-gun and the conservative movement is broadly pro-life. Anectodal exceptions don’t change anything.
I get the feeling that environmentalists are taking an ideological stance: mankind’s (continued) impact on the world is ipso facto a bad thing. Fully implementing the Kyoto treaty TOMORROW would have virtually no measureable impact on continued warming? Doesn’t matter. It is the principle that counts, which is, in this case, that mankind’s corruption of the world must cease. I hear very little in the way of rational cost/benefit analyses from environmentalists.
With today’s oil prices I have read articles about several prominent environmentalists who are promoting the use of nuclear power. I do not pretend to have any special inside information, but it seems like this represents a significant split in that movement. Again, the predominant philosophy is that nuclear power is a Bad Thing, period. Not because it is unsafe, or expensive, or new and scary. At this point, America has the know-how to build very safe installations, relatively cheaply, and nuclear power is no longer new. Doesn’t matter. Nukes Are Bad.
Ultimately, this is why environmentalism is more faith than science: it is not falsifiable. And this is why rational people cannot take it seriously.